The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung has disclosed Nigerian Athletes were denied visas by the American and British embassies despite the intervention of the Federal Government and “Express” payments made for the documents.
Dalung expressed pain and devastation at the disappointment the Young Athletes suffered during the visas application process and rejection.
A majority of Young Nigerian Athletes missed out of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas because they were denied transit Visas by the US and British Embassies.
The matter was a major embarrassment for the Country who eventually only managed to present athletes in Cycling and Tennis. 25 Athletes were initially picked to fly Nigeria’s flag in seven sports, namely: Athletics, Swimming, Judo, Beach Volleyball, Tennis and Boxing.
Dalung stressed that the situation was capable of affecting the “Psychology and growth” of the Athletes.
“Upon the application for Visa we had very serious challenges. Our first application was route our Athletes through the US, we applied, they went for interview and only two people were given visas.
“We were desperate. We went again to the British embassy; applied and paid again but we had only two or so who were given visas.
“Then I immediately drew the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who assigned a director who accompanied us to these embassies.
“Again were we made to make express payments, which we did. But at the end of the day majority of our young people were sadly denied visas.
“I have been pained and devastated because this has very serious implication on the psychology and growth of these young people who have offered to serve their Country,” the Minister of Sports explained.